Help support ex-servicemen charity at Mansfield sleep out

The Stags Sleepout team

The Stags Sleepout team

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Owners of the Mansfield Manor Hotel will be sleeping on the streets overnight to help raise money for the Joint Forces Alliance, a local charity that helps ex-servicemen get back on their feet when they have fallen on hard times.

On Friday, January 29, Paul Andrews and Connor Doran, both from Mansfield Manor Hotel, are taking part in a sleep out.

Several other local businesses are also taking part including Andy Plant from Acorn Signs, Paul Nyland from MTFC, Steve Devine-Bradbury from Riley and Co, Mark Burton from Ulyett Landscapes and Malk Hall from Hall-fast.

Before the sleep out there will be a pre-event party at Mansfield Town Football Club at 8pm. There will be a disco and karaoke. Attendees are asked to bring one tin of non-perishable food with them which will be donated to charity.

Paul Andrews said: “The charity makes a real difference to ex-servicemen’s lives, and we have experienced their work at the hotel in the past, and what is a relatively small donation can make a difference when furnishing a property for a homeless veteran.

“As many of you know, we have run a business in Mansfield now for four years. In that time one of the most rewarding aspects is the many friends we have made during our time here.

“Last year there was a planned event to raise awareness of a local charity by means of a sleep out at Mansfield Town Football Club. However, the event was cancelled due to the cold weather. Undeterred, several of my friends decided that they would carry on and do it anyway and were successful in raising more than £2,000 for the charity, which brings us to this year.

“We are confident that last year’s total can be beaten and any money raised will go directly to purchasing household goods which are taken for granted by you and me, but are essential when setting up a new home.”

Jason Rathbone, founder of the JFA charity, said: “We’re a volunteer-lead organisation and we need the donations; furniture and food is all donated by the local community and any money raised goes towards fuel to put in our van, volunteer costs, various types of insurance and our overheads.

“We try to help everyone in their time of need, so we supply beds, water and anything they need to get back on their feet. We really kit people out, so we’ll give them four sets of knives, forks, bowls, saucers and other things like cleaning materials.

“We wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t the need for it. We operate only on donations and we put in 300 volunteer hours a week.

“We want to bring back community spirit of Mansfield by facilitating the donations, we’re a good middle man. We’re the only food bank in the country which take in ‘walk-ins’, as long as they bring their evidence and they’re not exploiting their benefits, we’ll supply them with two weeks’ worth of food and the promise of another four weeks.”

The charity will split the money raised between their veterans’ service, which helps homeless veterans, and their community support project which provides food parcels for individuals and families across the area from their food bank based on White Hart Street in Mansfield.